International Rescue Committee (IRC)

Career Week at the Leaders in Training Program

The Leaders in Training Career Week aims to expose the highly talented and eager youth participating in the IRC in New York’s Refugee Youth Program to a variety of potential career options with the hope of peaking their interest and knowledge in a particular industry. During the month of February, the Refugee Youth Program took LIT students on a tour of different companies and organizations around New York City. Each tour allowed students to meet and interact with staff members of the company, learn about their individual roles as well as the academic path they followed to work in their specific field. 

The week started off with a visit to Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer US LLP, a leading international law firm with offices in the US, Europe, the Middle East and Asia, who had graciously hosted the Refugee Youth program last year. Greeted by a group of Freshfields senior litigators and attorneys, and a breathtaking view from the 31st floor of a midtown Manhattan high-rise, students were walked through a typical day in the life of a lawyer. Much to everyone’s excitement, Freshfields staff had prepared a mock trial for the LITs to take part in and shortly after lunch, deliberations on the plaintiff and defendant sides began. The culmination resulted in a litigation before a judge. “I was so nervous in the beginning because I have never spoken in front of a judge before, but at the end I realized I did very well. It was a very exciting experience!” exclaimed Djenabou, a 17 year old junior high school student from Guinea upon winning the mock trial. As the visit came to an end, the LITs were impressed with the wealth of knowledge they were able to acquire and the attention and dedication they were given by the Freshfields staff.  The objective of Career Week being to expose students to as many career opportunities as possible, Refugee Youth Program staff decided to showcase the IRC’s Children Youth Development and Protection Program and introduce students to the non-profit sector. Barri Shorey, Youth & Livelihoods Special Projects Program Officer, drew the students’ attention by focusing on IRC lead programs currently held in their native countries of Guinea, Sierra Leone and Haiti. Many of the LITs quickly expressed interest in working for the IRC and returning to their home countries to help their people rebuild their lives.  To close off the week, a visit to the New York Times building and a forum with its senior editorial staff had students discussing topics such as race, adjusting to a new country, college and how does one get to work and write for the New York Times.  Last but not least, a visit to fashion designer Diane Von Furstenberg offices was the icing on a very fruitful week as the LITs had the privilege to tour DVF’s Marketing and Design offices as well as their showcase rooms.  And thus, the Leaders in Training Career Week concluded, with a debriefing about the different industries, an analysis of the new information learned as well as opportunities to pursue in college. The Refugee Youth Programs thanks all of the participants of Career Week 2012 for welcoming the Leaders in Training to their office and dedicating their valuable time to furthering these wonderful students’ career exploration.